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Burton Step-On Bindings Explained

In the world of Snowboarding, little divides opinion more than the Step-On bindings VS traditional bindings discussion.  While both provide quick attachment and release from the snowboard, they operate differently, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

In the following article, we’ll explore the workings of Burton’s Step-On bindings, their advantages such as speed, efficiency, and beginner-friendliness, as well as their drawbacks like compatibility issues and potential performance concerns.

So whether you strap, click or step in, read on to know more!

What’s The Difference Between Step-On And Step-In Bindings?

Step-on and step-in bindings have been around for a long time but are starting to gain more popularity as technology and performance improve.

Burton has famously held the patent for the “Step-on binding system” for over 25 years! They are the main producer of this binding style. Snowboarding’s “superbrand” has however licensed this technology out to companies such as Flux which now makes Step-on bindings. Other Step-on style options are not allowed to call themselves “step-on” but do exist, such as the K2 Klicker.

All other quick connection bindings are known as Step-in and are produced by well-known companies such as Nidecker, Flow, and newcomer Clew

Step-in and step-on bindings both offer quick attachment and release from your snowboard but operate slightly differently:

  1. Step-On Bindings:
    • Burton Step-on bindings feature a mechanism where the rider’s boot simply steps onto the binding and locks into place without the need to manually adjust any straps or buckles.
    • They use a combination of clips and locking mechanisms to secure the boot to the binding.
    • They require specific boots that are compatible with the binding system.
  2. Step-In Bindings:
    • Step-in bindings also allow riders to quickly get in and out of their bindings, but they involve a more traditional strap or buckle system, usually with a movable high back to enter and exit the binding.
    • While still relatively easy to use, step-in bindings may require some adjustment of straps or buckles to ensure a snug fit.
    • Step-in bindings do not require a specific boot and will be compatible with most snowboard boots.

Burton Step-On Bindings Explained

Understanding Step-On Bindings

Burton Step-On bindings, as the name suggests, allow riders to easily step onto their binding to engage and secure their boots to the snowboard without the need for traditional strap adjustments.

This type of technology requires 2 specifically designed types of equipment: the binding itself, which is mounted to the snowboard, and the compatible boots equipped with a specific interface that connects to the binding. Regular boots will not work with step-on bindings and step-on boots will not work with regular bindings. 

Burton Step-On Bindings explained

Photo credit: Burton Snowboards

How Do Burton Step-On Bindings Work?

Step-on bindings feature a mechanism on the baseplate that securely locks onto corresponding holes or clips on the snowboard boots. This mechanism involves a simple motion of stepping down onto the binding, engaging the locking mechanism, and providing a snug and secure fit.

To release the boots from the bindings, there is a lever at the side of the binding, which when turned releases the heel from the binding, allowing the rider to step out with a slight twist of the foot.

Although Burton is the only manufacturer to produce this specific binding, boot companies such as DC have started to produce compatible boots for the system.

Here is a YouTube video that explains the process of getting in and out of the bindings. 

Advantages of Burton Step-On Bindings

1. Speed

Step-on bindings clip in and out very quickly, similar to ski bindings. This is ideal if you are looking for fast transitions at the top and bottom of the chairlift.

2. Efficiency

Once properly set up, step-in bindings provide consistent and reliable performance without the need for frequent adjustments throughout the day.

3. Beginner-Friendly

Beginners often find step-in bindings more intuitive and less daunting than strap bindings, as they eliminate the complexity of adjusting multiple straps.

4. Ergonomic

Step-in bindings are a haven for snowboarders with limited mobility. Bending over to strap in and out every run can be difficult for some, step-in bindings eliminate the need for sitting and bending. One click from standing and off you go.

5. No Wet Bum

Step-ins are best when clipping in and out whilst standing. This means no sitting down in the snow and no more uncomfortable wet pants.

6. Fewer Parts

The lack of binding straps means fewer screws and moving parts that commonly fail or come loose, ruining your day on the hill. This simple system theoretically reduces the chance of equipment failure.

Disadvantages of Step-On Bindings

1. Compatibility

Step-in bindings require compatible boots. This causes issues for a few reasons…

  • Limited choice: You will have a limited choice when it comes to boots or bindings. This can cause issues with finding the perfect fit and also finding great deals. It will also be harder to find second-hand equipment or sell any used items.
  • No Swapsies: The great thing about traditional bindings is that they are pretty universal when it comes to boots. This means you can easily swap with friends or rent different equipment to find a setup that works perfectly for you (provided you both ride a similar stance). This isn’t possible with step-ins unless you ride compatible technology.
  • Breakages: Step-in bindings are quickly gaining popularity but they are still far from standard issue. If you break parts on these bindings it can be hard to quickly find replacement parts in the resort. Traditional bindings and parts can be found in every ski/ snowboard shop, it’s usually easy to piece a fix together if required.

2. Performance

Some riders argue that step-in bindings may sacrifice a degree of performance compared to traditional strap bindings, particularly in terms of responsiveness and customization. The technology is however improving and some pros do ride with step-in setups (maybe because they are paid to do so)

3. Reliability

While advancements have improved the reliability of step-in bindings, some riders still express concerns about the potential for accidental release or malfunction, especially when hitting big jumps and rails or riding technical backcountry terrain. We have heard of such releases but 90% of the time this is due to user error and incorrect setup.

4. Deep Snow

When in deep powder snow it can be difficult to engage the boots into the binding. this is due to 2 factors:

  1. Downward force – Soft deep snow may not give enough stability to fully engage the boot into the binding, especially when sitting down
  2. Snow buildup– If the boots and bindings are clogged with snow it will be difficult to clear all the small crevices to ensure they fully engage when stamped in. Regular bindings allow you to strap in and ride to a safer or more appropriate place to clear the snow.

Burton Step-On Bindings

Photo credit: Gear Junkie

Can You Trust Step-On Bindings?

Is short, yes, you can trust Burton Step-on bindings.

Many longtime users report more confidence in their step-on binding system compared to traditional bindings. This is due to the amount of nuts and bolts that can work their way loose on traditional setups.

From our studies and reading positive and negative reviews on the Step in System we have found that binding failures are almost always down to user error. In most cases this is down to either snow buildup stopping the binding from fully engaging or incorrect setup.

Are Burton Step-On Bindings Good For Beginners?

Burton Step-on bindings can be good for beginners as they are easy to clip in and out while standing up. Clipping in sitting down can cause difficulty when trying to pop back up and can be difficult for snowboarders with limited mobility. The step-on system helps out with this big time!

The one issue we could find on our Burton Step-on test setup was snow buildup in the boots and bindings. This can cause difficulty for beginners who may not be able to identify the issue quickly.

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